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Gene Rain

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Deeli Network
Release Date: July 17, 2018

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PS4 Review - 'Gene Rain'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 14, 2018 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Gene Rain is a futuristic third-person shooter that takes place at the end of the 21st century, a time when science and technology are developing incredibly rapidly.

About eight years ago, Tecmo released Quantum Theory on the PS3. At the time, it was seen as nothing more than a Japanese studio's take on the third-person, cover-based shooter popularized at the time by Gears of War. While the game had a nice alien aesthetic to it, and it handled the basics of cover-based shooting well enough, it wasn't a very good game and was quickly forgotten in the wave of other shooters that executed the idea much better. Now we have Gene Rain, a replica of the same cover-based shooter formula, but done by Chinese company Deeli Network. Unfortunately, those who play this title will experience a game that falters in almost every possible way.

There is a story, but you'll be hard-pressed to understand any of it. Part of the blame comes from the Chinese-to-English translation, which is poor at best. Repeated lines from all characters, terrible subtitles, and the frequent use of words that have completely different meanings take the tale from semi-serious to hilarious yet groan-worthy. Even if you can make it through the translation, you'd have to deal with the lack of cohesiveness in the cut scenes and the main game. Time shifts occur way too often, and many of the references make no sense until the very end of the game. That's why watching all of the cut scenes gives you just as much understanding of the plot as skipping them all.


Just about all of the mechanics you'd expect in a cover-based, third-person shooter are present. You lack the ability to jump, but you can perform a rolling dive. You can run to cover and clamber over it. You can only hold four weapons at a time, but you can still pick up some heavy weaponry if you find it. Overall, you lack the ability to run from cover to cover immediately, but you can destroy enemy corpses to loot them for ammo and other power-ups.

The problem is that barely anything works as intended. For example, aiming is slow and feels inaccurate if you turn off the auto-aiming feature. Turn it on, and the enemy snaps become too aggressive and often targets enemies who are further from you or in hiding. Just about every foe you encounter can take loads of damage, so you'll waste many clips to take down one person. Even if you have the good fortune of running into weak enemies, the spread of almost every weapon is so wide that accuracy is practically impossible, even while aiming down sights. The act of running causes the camera to wildly shift from the over-the-shoulder view to a traditional behind-the-back view, and you'll either get sick or disoriented from the sudden camera shifts. The fact that the run is tied to L3 makes the whole thing feel uncomfortable.

Taking cover is a gamble, since there's no guarantee of actually sticking to an object. Either the wall or item you're trying to stick to isn't programmed for taking cover, or you'll take cover behind an invisible piece of collision. It sometimes doesn't matter, since some bullets and explosions ignore the environment and hit you anyway. All of the fights quickly become crowded, so entire firefights feel too long, and if you pick up a heavy weapon, you're practically giving yourself a death sentence because it's almost impossible to drop that minigun. Weapon-switching is near-unresponsive overall, but trying to drop a weapon puts you in a loop of dropping the gun — only to pick it up again although you don't have any ammo.


Enemies are good about taking cover, but they'll also just try to rush you and sneak in a punch before running for cover again. While you could try to punish them by initiating a melee attack, the delivery is often slow, and the chances of hitting the enemy seem to be extremely low. If you connect, the damage feels inconsequential. Even the grenade throws feel terrible, since you can't aim before you toss. That's when you know you have a true gameplay disaster on your hands.

Gene Rain tries to salvage things by giving each of the three characters some distinct combat powers. Alex can call on remote turrets to add some extra firepower to a skirmish. Li Ying can slow down time, so she has more of a chance to get the drop on enemies in her path. Meanwhile, the robot Salman has a force field that allows him to absorb more damage, making him much more durable in firefights.

Again, those additions end up being more useless than useful. For example, there's enough of a delay to Alex's turret that it'll usually appear when you're about to die or when all of the enemies have died. Salman's force field is large and lacks transparency, essentially blocking half of your vision, so enemies are free to pelt you until the force field disappears. Li Ying's slowdown ability works well for her turning radius, but the duration is so short that it hardly feels like you can do anything with it. At the same time, a longer period of slowdown wouldn't help, since the whole world becomes a blur, so spotting enemies becomes a chore.


After finishing the four-hour campaign, you'll realize that Gene Rain doesn't offer much else. There's the almost prerequisite Horde mode, but the poor mechanics will discourage anyone from trying to go through that for fun. Multiplayer is also missing, but that may be for the best, as the online population for the game would most likely be nonexistent. Local co-op would have been nice, especially since most of the title has you teaming with an AI partner.

The presentation is just as botched as everything else. The environments are terribly bland, and the textures are very low-resolution half of the time. The placement of some environmental elements makes no sense. For example, the Chinatown level has signs for sushi with a bowl of soup next to it and an Indian restaurant, while there's a bridal shop right next door to the sex shop in the same alleyway. It doesn't help that you'll see these signs repeated in close proximity to one another.

The lighting tries to make up for the bland environments, but the colors feel just as random as the signs. The use of motion blur is too aggressive, and the frame rate wavers, making the game an example of how to use Unity poorly. The audio is possibly worse because the music, while decent, seems to play at the wrong times and the voicework is awful. Even if you forget about the aforementioned translation errors, the line delivery conveys the wrong emotions, and the volume of voices can fluctuate wildly.

It's difficult to recommend Gene Rain to anyone. The story makes no sense, and the game does a good job of maintaining that sense of confusion. The gameplay has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and the presentation would be laughable even during the prior console generation. Not even Trophy hunters would be attracted to this title because the grind to obtain them is unbearable. Stay as far away as possible from Gene Rain.

Score: 2.0/10



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